View Full Version : Eureka Hi-Boy Ambulance Visits

Nicholas Studer
09-07-2017, 05:54 PM
Went on vacation recently, toured two locations that our 1961 Eureka-Cadillac "Hi-Boy" ambulance resided at in the past. http://www.professionalcarsociety.org/forums/showthread.php?t=18181 and http://www.professionalcarsociety.org/forums/showthread.php?t=18944 for photos/updates on the car itself.

The ambulance arrived in Socorro, NM in January 1970, as shown at http://www.professionalcarsociety.org/forums/showpost.php?p=841906049&postcount=67 . Photos from the newspaper that week, plus a single Polaroid I have of it after being repainted in white - show it sitting on the apron at the pictured station. The fire crew was very kind in letting me look around and take photos. You can see little has changed since 1970. There is now a parking lot/storage shed where a house used to be to the right of the double-bay. A newer ambulance has taken the Eureka's bay spot these days.

Sometime later, the Eureka made its way to Tres Piedras, NM. This small town is located at the crossroads of two state highways, and actually has a fair bit of traffic. Unfortunately, the population has significantly declined over the past twenty years in particular, and the primary employer in the area - the National Park Service - has employees living elsewhere. The Volunteer Fire Dept - like many rural and volunteer services - has plenty of equipment/apparatus but struggles for members. The Fire Chief was very kind and showed us where the Eureka Hi-Boy resided, now occupied by a mid-2000s Wheeled Coach Type III van/modular that is the current primary ambulance. Unfortunately, staffing issues prohibit it from seeing much use. As I understand it - the Eureka was not the primary ambulance for long, with a 1970s van ambulance arriving and the Eureka being relegated to backup. Then a mid-1980s Chevrolet Type I truck/modular came in and the Eureka made its way to Taos County EMS for parade use. The van now resides in a field near the station.

John ED Renstrom
09-07-2017, 10:03 PM
you would think they would sell off excess equipment of have traded it in. but once they get into the tax funds, money is not the problem. it as you have said personal.

Tim Prieur
09-08-2017, 12:14 AM
Thanks for sharing. What a great opportunity to "live" a bit of important history.

Joe Rackov
04-09-2018, 10:01 PM
Nicholas, thanks for the photos of Socorro. I'm sorry that I missed this thread several months ago. It's been awhile since I have been back there, 1991 to be exact but I still keep in touch with a couple of friends still there as you know.

The photo of the bays in that station bring back a lot of memories. To the rear of that ambulance if it has not been plastered over was the fire pole, it was boarded up the last time I was there. The tower in the center housed the old siren that alerted volunteers back in the day for a call. Two co-conspirators and I attempted to resurrect it for one New Year's announcement. About 1984 or 1985 IIRC, we were unsuccessful even though we though all the wiring was connected. We spent an afternoon shooing Pigeons out of there in anticipation of the event!

We used to keep an ambulance together with two trucks in the west bays during the winter so at least it was somewhat warm in the patient compartment. Talk about a tight fit especially when it was the 79 Ford E350.

When it was an all volunteer (Socorro Hose Co.#1) it also was a social club as a lot of those organizations were in the early 20's and 30's. Clarence Hammel owned the Illinois Brewing Co. in town and from what I gather kept the place stocked. In the kitchen/dining/training area behind those two bays at one time there was a framed article of some sort, time makes me forget except for the inscription (in so many words) "the only fire station with a beer cooler". And if you go into the basement on one of the old fuse panels in pencil it was written "beer cooler" if that panel is still there, that was in the 1980's anyway.

The single bay to the left was the original single garage. The offices and the Chief's living quarters were there, there used to be a fold down ironing board in the one wall. Percy D. Miller was Chief at that time, about the 1920's. He came to Socorro for his health, IIRC he was a TB patient. He recovered and stayed. IIRC the west side bays were named in honor of Chief John Casey, he was killed in a non duty car crash again if I remember correctly.

There have been two firefighters lost in the line of duty since the department's creation, the first sometime in the mid 1920's in a building collapse and the second while responding to a MVA in 1985. I'm attempting to get the name of the first firefighter to have him memorialized along with Rick. He too should not be forgotten.

Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble on. And more progress updates on the Eureka please.